Skip to main content

Indian submarine accident leaves 2 sailors dead and navy chief out of job

By Jethro Mullen and Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
February 28, 2014 -- Updated 0053 GMT (0853 HKT)
Two Indian naval officers were found dead after they went missing in a fire on the INS Sindhuratna submarine, the latest in a string of accidents that have forced the navy's chief to quit.
Two Indian naval officers were found dead after they went missing in a fire on the INS Sindhuratna submarine, the latest in a string of accidents that have forced the navy's chief to quit.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Two sailors who were missing are found dead, authorities say
  • Seven other sailors are hospitalized after toxic smoke on a submarine
  • The chief of the navy has stepped down following a series of problems on vessels
  • In August, an explosion on another Indian submarine killed all 18 sailors on board

New Delhi (CNN) -- Two Indian sailors were found dead Thursday a day after the submarine they were on filled with toxic smoke, authorities said.

The accident, the latest in a series of problems plaguing the Indian fleet, prompted the chief of the country's navy to resign.

Seven crew members of the Russian-built submarine, the INS Sindhuratna, have been hospitalized after inhaling smoke emanating from one of the vessel's compartments early Wednesday while it was off the coast of Mumbai, the navy said.

Two other sailors on the submarine had been reported missing. Their bodies were found Thursday in a smoke-affected compartment of the vessel, authorities said.

Adm. D.K. Joshi, the navy's chief of staff, stepped down Wednesday after news of the problems on the submarine emerged, the government said.

Joshi took "moral responsibility for the accidents and incidents which have taken place during the past few months," the defense ministry said in a statement.

The Indian navy declined to provide an exact number of how many incidents had taken place on vessels in recent months, saying only that there had been "a couple of serious accidents involving submarines."

In August, an explosion and fire sank another of India's Russian-made submarines, the INS Sindhurakshak, killing all 18 sailors on board. That was the navy's deadliest peacetime disaster.

The cause of the smoke Wednesday on the Sindhuratna is still under investigation, the navy said.

The Indian navy has been struggling to modernize its aging submarine fleet, which, like much of the Indian military, relies heavily on Russian hardware.

Analysts say the current number of submarines is far fewer than India needs to patrol is lengthy coastline, but plans to update the fleet have been held up because of technical problems, bureaucracy and higher-than-expected costs.

CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh reported from New Delhi, and Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
The comparisons are inevitable: A student-led campaign challenges Beijing authorities for greater freedom. Could Hong Kong protests lead to another Tiananmen?
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 0752 GMT (1552 HKT)
In a country with not enough toilets, scavengers are paid just $5 a day to scoop human waste.
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
It's a frightening prospect for South Koreans: secret North Korean tunnels under Seoul
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT)
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
If you're lucky, your train might be delayed.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1355 GMT (2155 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT